Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Thornton Lakes and Trappers Peak

Trip Report

Thornton Lakes and Trappers Peak — Thursday, Sep. 7, 2017

North Cascades
Grouse on summit

After ending a trip; breaking down on the Thornton Lake road last week, I thought I would test the other shock-mount.  My vehicle shock-mount (right-front) had been replaced and I was ready to climb the very rough road again.  

Steve and I had not been to Trappers Peak in over ten years, so we decided to go again, on what I consider one of the best hikes in the Cascades.  We were hoping for good views (maybe even get above the smoke), but the smoke-filled skies prevailed even above the nearly 6,000 foot summit.

The trail is in great condition to the 5,050' junction that drops down about 500 feet to the lower lake.  After the signed junction there is a boot path to follow that goes up on top the south ridge.  There are several steep scramble areas that require the use-of-hands without any exposure issues.  It took us about four hours to go up, and 3.5 going down.  Blueberries are still available above 5,000'.  

The nearly three hour drive to the trailhead is shorter via Arlington/Darrington (about 107 miles each way from Bothell).  The last five miles on the Thornton Lake road should be taken very slowly and with a high-clearance vehicle.  The roughest parts are also quite steep and so a all-wheel or 4-wheel drive is recommended.

Smoke filled view to Thornton lakes


Nordique on Thornton Lakes and Trappers Peak

Not having done this hike in years--due to the terrible road--we would definitely not have tried to repeat an old, favorite hike, in these very smoky conditions. Thank you, Norm and Steve, for braving the road and crappy air, to bring back so many fine photos! Now we don't have to go up there, this year!

Posted by:

Nordique on Sep 08, 2017 07:27 PM

blueshirtBob on Thornton Lakes and Trappers Peak

The bird is a Blue Grouse (great shot by the way)

Posted by:

blueshirtBob on Sep 09, 2017 08:02 AM


The Sooty Grouse and the Dusky Grouse were considered to be the same species, the Blue Grouse, until the American Ornithologists’ Union split them in 2006 based on DNA evidence.

Posted by:

Norm on Sep 10, 2017 01:44 PM